Those who have followed me for a while or who have been on my friends’ list know that I have my own pain stories. So I won’t reiterate them. They are personal, even though common. And unless my writing is for friends, I allow it to trend. (Not that many read me, but it is in theory public) So with that in mind…
. . . .
There are aspects to healing that we often bandy about like cliches. But real people stand on both sides. So let’s try to be sensitive to that.
. . . .
the difference between a survivor and a victim
- victim –
Someone who sits in their pain and does nothing to change or grow from their experience.
- survivor –
Someone who seeks out education and therapy to move past the pain. To recreate their life within the new context. They have a wound, a scar that they must honour, but it doesn’t stop them from living life well. There is a variance in how well this happens. Not everyone has the same mental and social resources to do this.
. . . .
The difference between victim prototypes is varied by several factors.
Shame and blame . A child saying they have been hurt is never supposed to be blamed for what they went thru. They cannot affect change in their environment. They cannot protect themselves.
They also rarely are accused of lying if they raise it as a child. Except by those invested in continuing the abuse or neglect.
An adult who brings it up as a memory is often challenged, but is not supposed to be shamed or blamed. Is this always true in the real world? Nope.
patriarchy and entitlement
There is an assumption that the perp is a male and the victim is a female. Which esp with a child victim isn’t always true. Mother is the most common parent/carer.
It also excludes same sex relationships where domestic abuse and neglect can and do also occur.
addiction vs mental disease/defect
There is more blame given if the parent and/or victim is using drugs or alcohol. In some ways it’s almost as if the abusers are allowed to be abusive or neglectful.
And the victim must be a saint.
Yet it’s commonly linked to the path for both, so this is a severe form of ignorance.
. . . .
there are common stories
The person may change, their culture may change, their gender may change, but the basic frame is very similar. Almost like there’s a devil’s script. Yet when the victim goes thru it, and the offender acts, they feel like they’re the only ones going thru the feelings, experience and responses. It’s when they accept treatment, or join a therapeutic group that they realize what that script was. And acknowledge that though it came thru them, they had very little control over how it evolved. Once it was engaged.
. . . .
are there ways to protect yourself and prevent the next generation of abuse and neglect?
- as a child – no. You are meant to be protected. As a parent you can protect your child by leaving them with safe(r) people. You can educate an older child about things like body privacy and secrets. You can work on their self esteem. You can believe them if they tell you something is wrong. It’s rare that a child knows the pattern and can lie about it. Exception – if they’re coached.
- as a teen or adult –
- yes, if it’s in the larger world. You can walk down the street knowing there are predators in the world and they look like humans. You cannot know which of those humans is the predator, so you act in a way that keeps you safe and make them jump thru hoops to get near you.
- not as easily, if it’s domestic. – You have a social life and roles that bond you to these people and it takes chopping a limb off to leave them. Almost literally.
It’s also harder to want to prosecute and harder to prove. Because they have access to you. It’s like a rope with all kinds of threads thru it and it takes a lot of support and effort to separate those threads and put the rope back together in a sturdy form you can actually trust from then on.
- By laws and cultural changes only. By protecting the children in the first place. By recognizing and acting when the actual abusive dynamics are in play. Vs fear mongering and bigotry. Abuse and neglect are most commonly occurring in the home of parents who are addicts. Knowing that, we can create a buffer till the parent gains sobriety and clarity. We can make more resources available for healing.
. . . .
is the abuser at fault? yes and no?
They learned how to be an abuser or neglector at the knees of someone who was very influential to them. They were prone/wired (maybe genetically?) to be an abuser or neglector. Not all victims will be, no matter how well trained or badly hurt. And most likely, they weren’t sober.
is the victim at fault?
if a child, no
But teens and adults influence, interact with their world and can control their own immediate world. Therefore they can protect themselves. It is possible. Which is why people discuss personal responsibility. Do not ever underestimate that people, esp addicts, can and will cause you harm and act accordingly to protect yourself.
Nobody is saying it’s simple or easy. But you can reduce the risks you face in your life. And you should try to do that.
. . . .
how does this relate to kink?
Well we are humans. There are victims and predators among us.
There are also people who are just fucking up and allowed to continue erring. Where most harm will occur. So maybe our best way to protect oruselves in kink is the same one as at home or on the street (since we’re adults). Make people jump thru hoops to get near us.